Contributed by Erica Schreckenghaust – Forty lucky SSU students were treated to exceptional wines by Duckhorn Vineyards and Larson Family wineries this month. Organized as part of the WineSense Club educational tasting seminars, the students were excited to learn about the history of these two family wineries, both established in the 1970’s.
Duckhorn Vineyards, Napa Valley
Duckhorn was founded by Dan and Margaret Duckhorn in 1976 and has become one of the premier producers of Bordeaux varietal wines. Duckhorn is known for pioneering Merlot as a premium varietal, as well as their acclaimed Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon. They strive to produce quality wines with their seven estate vineyards in Napa Valley.
For the evening, they poured a Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and their Z Red Wine Blend. The vote of favorite wines of the evening resulted in two Duckhorn winners: 1) 2013 Duckhorn Sauvignon Blanc, made up of 84% Sauvignon Blanc and 16% Semillon, from select premium Napa Valley vineyards; and 2) 2010 Duckhorn Cabernet Sauvignon, estate grown from the Patzimaro Vineyard located in the St. Helena appellation at the base of Spring Mountain. It is made of 88% Cabernet Sauvignon and 12% Merlot.
Larson Family Vineyards, Sonoma County
Larson Family planted their first vineyards in 1977 and after many years of trial and error decided to get serious, officially open their winery in 1985. Today, Larson Family Winery has 120 acres of predominantly Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes and continues to live their motto of “We Drink What We Can and Sell the Rest!”
Natalie and Nick, the Directors of Marketing and Sales, led the group through a tasting of six wines- 2012 Sparkling Brut, 2012 Gewürztraminer, 2012 Chardonnay, 2012 Pinot Noir, a Non-Vintage Sonoma Red Blend and the 2012 Malbec. After polling the students, the two favorite Larson Family wines were: 1) 2012 Larson Family Pinot Noir and 2) 2012 Larson Family Malbec, both from the Carneros Region.